Syrian President Bashar al-Assad took to the streets of Baba Amr, a former Syrian rebel stronghold in the neighborhood of Homs, dressed casually in an open-necked shirt and blue suit.
Stopping to interact with soldiers and supporters, often smiling and exchanging pleasantries, Assad's rare visit seemingly made it impossible to believe that the same streets were devastated by months of violent fights and bloodshed, in an uprising aimed at overthrowing his government.
Syrian state-run television aired a video of the visit. "Life will return to normal in Baba Amr, better than it was before," Assad was shown as saying to a group of people shouting support for him.
The Syrian opposition slammed Assad for appearing in Homs "to show the world that he defeated" the revolution.
"He thinks he won and scored a great victory," opposition activist Saif Hurria told Reuters. "He wants to show the world he defeated and put down a revolution. But ... it seems he can't even release the video until he has left Homs. That is not control."
UN envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, announced on Tuesday Syria's decision to accept his six-point proposal to put an end to the long-standing crisis. Despite the government accepting the peace call, which mandates immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of the troops, at least 15 people were killed on Tuesday in clashes between the military and rebel fighters. According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, nine of those killed were civilians.